The abortion industry won a temporary victory in court on Monday when a judge stopped an Arkansas law regulating chemical abortion drugs from taking effect until further notice.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit against Arkansas in December to challenge its Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act (Act 577). The law requires abortion facilities to follow Food and Drug Administration guidelines when administering chemical abortion drugs, according to the Associated Press. These FDA guidelines include a higher, more expensive dosage and a shorter time period for administering the drug, from up to nine weeks of pregnancy to up to seven weeks. The law also requires that abortion doctors who dispense the pill maintain contact with another doctor who has hospital admitting privileges in case of patient complications.
The law was scheduled to go into effect this week, but U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker barred the enforcement of it in a ruling Monday, according to the Arkansas News Bureau.
Baker sided with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in her ruling, saying Act 577 would force the group’s two abortion facilities in Fayetteville and Little Rock to close. Baker also said in the ruling that she was skeptical about the need for abortionists to have contracts with doctors who have hospital admitting privileges.
Arkansas Online reports more about the case:
Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit “asked the court to block a law that would end access to abortion at two out of the three abortion-providing health centers in the state if it went into effect,” spokesman Angie Remington said. “The law would impose severe and medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion, a very safe method of abortion if used early in pregnancy.”
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland provides only medication abortions. The only other clinic in the state that provides abortions is Little Rock Family Planning Services, which had agreed to provide only surgical abortions after the law was passed, but can provide either surgical or medication abortions. Bettina Brownstein, a Little Rock attorney who is representing Planned Parenthood, said there are likely other doctors in the state who provide medication abortions as well.
Remington provided a statement from Ho, who said, “It’s a relief to know that as this case proceeds I can continue to provide the highest quality of health care to a woman who comes to Planned Parenthood for safe and legal abortion care. No one should get inferior, outdated and less effective care from their physician.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge plans to appeal the decision. Judd Deere, a spokesman for the attorney general, said their office was disappointed by Baker’s ruling.
“Act 577 was passed to help ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections for women,” Deere said. “Attorney General Rutledge will fully defend this statute and is confident that the 8th Circuit [Court of Appeals] will eventually uphold this law.”
The abortion pill, often RU-486, has a high complication rate and can become deadly to the mother as well as her unborn child if complications are not treated. According to the FDA, at least 14 women have died and 2,207 women have been injured from chemical abortions in America.
Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, previously told LifeNews that the abortion drug has killed almost 2,000 unborn children since Planned Parenthood of the Heartland moved in to Arkansas in 2012.
“It is clear that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland came to [Arkansas] to perform abortions,” Mimms said. “In Arkansas they are the primary provider of abortion using the chemicals known as RU486, and they want to do it their way, not following the protocol that the FDA developed when the abortion drugs were first approved in 2000.”